Hospital executives say the North location on Highway 165 will be closing Oct. 1 and that all of its services will be moved to other St. Francis locations.
Hospital President and CEO, Kristin Wolkart, said the hospital can’t afford to run this facility any longer.
She said St. Francis primarily serves Medicaid patients, but receives some of the lowest reimbursement rates in the state.
These low rates have put a large financial strain on the hospital.
“We basically lose money any time a patient with Medicaid comes in through our doors,” Woklart said. “it’s a part of our mission and ministry to care for all of those in need and we want to continue to provide those services to any patient that walks through the door and needs us.”
Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo responded stating,” We are, however, thankful that St. Francis will still retain a significant footprint in Monroe by maintaining their downtown campus and their community health center on Tower Drive.”
Wolkart wants to make it clear that this consolidation plan won’t cost anyone their jobs and that the services will just be transferred to their other facilities
St. Francis Medical Center today announced the organization will consolidate services from St. Francis Medical Center-North, which is located on Highway 165 North, to other locations, including St. Francis’ main campus in downtown Monroe.
The transition will begin on October 1 and be completed by Nov. 1. The North campus, which has served largely as an outpatient facility, will be closed.
“After a complete review of multiple scenarios and different strategies and prayerful discernment by our leadership and board, we have decided to consolidate the operations at our North campus to our downtown and Community Health Center locations,” said Kristin Wolkart, St. Francis Medical Center President and CEO. “We simply can’t afford to provide primary access from two acute care locations while we receive some of the lowest Medicaid and uncompensated care reimbursement in the state. We are in the unfortunate position of reducing an important access point for the community or putting our entire health ministry in peril, which we simply can’t do. Consolidating our services fortifies our health ministry and is the best decision for our community and patients.”
The major components of the consolidation are:
• Emergency services will no longer be provided at our North campus effective Saturday, October 1, 2016, as St. Francis consolidates to one centralized emergency room at the downtown campus of St. Francis Medical Center on Jackson Street, which will remain open 24/7.
• St. Francis Sleep Lab Center will be moving to 410 Wood Street near our downtown campus effective Saturday, October 1, 2016.
• Tobacco Cessation Services will be moving to a location near our downtown campus by the end of October 2016.
• Kitty DeGree Breast Health Center will be moving to a newly renovated space at the Community Health Center, located on Tower Drive in mid-town Monroe, effective Monday, October 17, 2016.
• Lab and radiology services will no longer be provided at our North campus effective Monday, October 31, 2016. The Community Health Center on Tower Drive in Monroe offers these services and can accommodate additional patients.
To ease the transition, St. Francis will expand hours of operation at several of our primary care and urgent care clinics for patients who need urgent, yet non-emergent care. Team members, many of whom already work across our campuses, will be relocated to other locations.
As with other healthcare providers, St. Francis is treating a high number of people with Medicaid. St. Francis supports Medicaid expansion, yet is impacted disproportionately because of the inadequate and inequitable payments St. Francis receives from the state. Strong financial health is important because it helps St. Francis maintain its ministry of work.
“Caring for patients with Medicaid is near and dear to our mission and our call to serve those most in need, yet the payments we receive are well below both the cost of care and the payments that the vast majority of other hospitals receive. St. Francis gets less than $800 for Medicaid per day. In comparison, University Health Conway and for-profit Glenwood Regional Medical Center, each get substantially more than that in payments from the state,” said Wolkart. “We’ve tried to improve reimbursement several times with both the prior and current administrations. The state has worked with other hospitals to address this gap, and we’re disappointed they haven’t done the same to preserve care for people with Medicaid in Northeast Louisiana.”